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7 important stories you may have missed while celebrating Thanksgiving

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7 important stories you may have missed while celebrating Thanksgiving

As millions of Americans took a long weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving, it was business as usual in much of the rest of the world.

More suffering. More violence. More injustice. More protests. 

Here are seven important stories you may have missed while stuffing yourself with turkey and pumpkin pie. 

1. Hundreds evacuated in Gaza Strip following severe flooding

It has been an annus horribilis for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. And it just keeps getting worse.

A seven-week war between Israel and Hamas during the summer destroyed much of the impoverished enclave. More than 2,000 people were killed during the conflict, and thousands were left homeless. Many have been living in communal shelters and the ruins of their homes.

And now long-suffering Gazans have to deal with rain and flooding. Heavy rain that began Wednesday has caused severe flooding in the war-battered territory and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people and the closure of 63 schools. The United Nations has declared a state of emergency.

2. Bollywood actress sentenced to 26 years jail for blasphemy

A Pakistani court sentenced actress, TV host and model Veena Malik to 26 years jail on charges of blasphemy.

Earlier this year Malik and her businessman husband, Asad Bashir Khan, had re-enacted their own wedding on a daytime television show broadcast live on Geo TV. Innocent enough, right? Well, some Muslim viewers took offense because the scene apparently made references to the daughter of the Prophet Mohammad. Oops.

Malik’s husband, the host of the show and the owner of the television station also received 26-year jail sentences.

The good news for Malik and her co-defendants is that the sentences are unlikely to be enforced. The verdict was delivered by an anti-terrorism court in the city of Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is contested by India and Pakistan. The Guardian said court decisions in the disputed region tend not to apply to the rest of Pakistan.

But Malik, who fled to Dubai with her husband, plans to return to Pakistan to challenge the court order anyway.

“Twenty-six years is a lifetime,” said Malik. “But I have faith in higher courts in Pakistan. When the final verdict comes, it will do justice to me. Nothing bad is going to happen.”

3. Child bride accused of murdering husband with rat poison

A 14-year-old Nigerian girl is on trial for the murder of four people, including her husband, who was more than twice her age. If convicted she could face the death penalty. 

Wasila Tasi'u, from the mainly Muslim north, has been accused of lacing food she was preparing for a post-wedding celebration with rat poison she had bought from a shop. Her 35-year-old husband and three wedding guests died.

The prosecution is seeking the death penalty for the teenager, who has pleaded not guilty. According to the rights group Girls Not Brides, 16 percent of Nigerian girls are married before their 15th birthday.

4. Hong Kong protest leaders ordered to stay away from flashpoints

Joshua Wong and other protest leaders in Hong Kong were released on bail on the condition they stay away from Mong Kok.

The commercial district on the Kowloon Peninsula has been one of the main protest sites during the two-month pro-democracy movement. Wong was among some 160 protesters rounded up and arrested this week when authorities moved in to clear tents and barricades from the area.

Despite the setback, Wong remained defiant. He called on protesters to move to the Admiralty and Causeway Bay neighborhoods to continue the campaign against Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong's electoral system. 

“What we’re fighting for are results,” the 18-year-old said, “not retreat.”

5. Another grisly discovery in Mexico

Another day, another mass killing in Mexico.

This time 11 decapitated bodies were dumped by the side of a road in the southern state of Guerrero where 43 student teachers were abducted by local police, handed over to a gang and presumed massacred two-months ago.

The bodies of the latest victims, who appeared to be in their 20s, were found near the town of Chilapa, which is about 25 miles from Ayotzinapa where the teacher training college attended by the missing students is located. 

"In addition to being executed, the 11 people were decapitated and subsequently some were burned," an unidentified state government official was quoted as saying.

The discovery was made shortly before Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced plans to dissolve the country’s 1,800 municipal police forces, "which can easily be corrupted by criminals," and turn police duties over to state agencies.

That and other measures announced by the embattled president are unlikely to appease angry Mexicans who have taken to the streets in coordinated nationwide protests in recent weeks over the missing students, official corruption and general violence. 

6. Detective writer P. D. James is dead

It was a sad day for fans of the literary crime genre. Highly acclaimed British detective writer P.D. James, who sold millions of novels worldwide, died. She was 94.

James began writing in her late 30s and went on to produce more than 20 novels, the most famous of which featured the jazz-loving, poetry-writing Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh.

"It was a late beginning for someone who knew from early childhood that she wanted to be a novelist, and, looking back, I can't help regret what I now see as some wasted years," James wrote in an autobiography, "Time to Be Earnest."

7. French farmers cry wolf

Farmers, fed up with wolves attacking their sheep, took their frustrations and their flocks to the Eiffel Tower to demand action.

As their sheep munched on straw bales near the iconic structure, farmers called on the French government to stop the rising number of wolf attacks on their animals.

Official figures released in August showed there had been 4,800 wolf attacks this year, about 1,000 more than last year. Most of the victims were sheep.

Wolves are protected after being hunted almost to extinction in the 1930s. Farmers, however, argue they are "overprotected" and putting their livelihoods at risk.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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